This week marks the final midweek slate of games for the English Premier League season. This means that by this time next week, all 20 teams would have played in two games and thus have the ability to win anywhere from zero to six points.
For the top four contenders for the EPL title, this is a make or break weekend. This weekend can be the difference between extending their lead or catching up to their opponents.
Current EPL standings after 27 of 38 games
Leicester City – 56 points
Tottenham Hotspur – 54
Arsenal – 51
Manchester City – 47 (played 26 games)
For all four of these teams, they could be in a very different position and mindset in a week from now, particularly since two of these teams play in a North London derby that will be one of the most important derbies in decades.
Arguably, Leicester City has the easier of the schedule compared to the rest of the top four but that doesn’t mean it’ll be an easy six points. Leicester, who can potentially go out to an insurmountable eight point lead with nine games left, must play a relatively in form West Brom team Tuesday and away at Watford. Watford will be looking to keep their top ten position. Both games can prove to be potential pitfalls for the Cinderella’s and, given their game against Norwich and the fact that Ngolo Kante is now injured, they will face two tough tests to try and keep their advantage.
Tottenham has an opportunity to take the lead in the Premier League for the first time this year but they will have to do that with the toughest two games of any of the four teams. First, Spurs must go to the Boleyn Ground for the final time to play a West Ham team fighting for a Europa League spot. And then on the weekend, they will face their bitter rival Arsenal in one of the most important North London Derbies in a long time. Tottenham’s week is the very definition of high risk, high reward. A successful week means not only a likely lead in the EPL but hurting a rivals title hopes in the process. On the flip side, it could be a tough blow for Spurs’ title hopes if they prove unsuccessful this week.
Arsenal gets to play the aforementioned Tottenham on Sunday at White Hart Lane. They will also face Swansea at home, so that’ll be a great test before big game. Arsenal is in a tough spot because they cannot afford to lose to their rival. Let’s be fair, Tottenham cannot afford to lose either but for Arsenal, a loss would mean that Arsenal will be at the very least, six points behind Tottenham. And the last thing Arsenal fans would want to see is Tottenham raising that Premier League title after being so close so many years and that Tottenham got there by beating Arsenal.
Manchester City has a game in hand after winning the Capital One Cup but even if they win that game, Man City is falling behind. Sitting nine points back of Leicester, City won’t be able to take the lead but must take all six points to get back into this title hunt. One of those games should be simple as they will face the perennially terrible and relegation bound Aston Villa over the weekend. Their game on Wednesday will be a Liverpool rematch at Anfield from the Cup Final Sunday. Liverpool will look for revenge for losing the Final and that’ll be the big test from City. Liverpool may not have won the Capital One Cup but they can payback Manchester City by eliminating them from the EPL title hunt.